You could spend an endless amount of time exploring any competitor’s eCommerce website just trying to find the secrets to their success. This may provide a few clues, but unless you really understand the basics, all of your searching and looking will be a waste of time.
The basics? Yes, though you might see it as “big picture” thinking,
Just consider our very first tip for eCommerce website success:
- Never forget how easy it is to “click away” from an unappealing site. Don’t challenge your visitors in any way imaginable and instead focus your energy on making sure that your site is simple, user-friendly, visually appealing, and essentially the most usable site out there. In all honesty, you could do the research and see that your prices are the very best, but if it is difficult or annoying to navigate your site, you won’t ever overcome the competition.
With this in mind, it becomes very easy to figure out some of the remaining “tips” to ensure that your eCommerce website is a hit. Consider the four following choices:
- Rely on cross-selling as a convenient and appealing feature. Take a look at the way Amazon uses this sure-fire eCommerce tactic. You put a book or other item (they sell thousands and thousands of them) into the cart and immediately there appears a nice page element that allows you to arrow through a list of items relevant to the one you are about to purchase. This is of particular value to any multichannel eCommerce website hoping to sell from its array of inventory. Do keep in mind, however, that you never want to oversell on the cross-sale as this might inspire cart abandonment while the shopper now goes out looking for better deals at other vendor sites.
- Allow purchases without registration. This seems counterproductive for any eCommerce website. However, most shoppers appreciate the opportunity to shop first as a guest and then as a returning user; it makes them happier all around. Again, consider how Amazon does it. You can shop as a new customer first by doing nothing more than submitting an email address. This allows the site to contact any shopper about an abandoned cart, but eliminates the frustrations of providing details before any sale. When the sale is done, most are happy to then register for easier shopping next time around.
- Deliver optimal trust and security. Though you always want to keep the entire navigational process simple and your design as clean as possible (i.e. uncluttered in overall design), you still need to provide very visual displays of optimal security and privacy. Work with a shopping cart provider or more comprehensive eCommerce management system to demonstrate to shoppers that they can feel confident and comfortable using the cart and the site in general.
- Reassure shoppers that the process is in their hands. The smartest thing you will ever do is to make your eCommerce website a user-centric location. While it could make it more complex to design such a site, when the user is the focal point they know it and appreciate it. This is why the final tip for eCommerce site success is to ensure that you implement “breadcrumb navigation”. (George, 2014) This shows them a timeline of just where they are in the purchase process. From sign in and shipping choices, to features like gift wrapping and placing the order, you want to allow the shopper to feel totally in control and confident.
There are many things you can do to add value and ensure the success of your eCommerce site, but these five are the essential and most basic steps to take.
Use these five tips to ensure that your eCommerce website is appealing to modern shoppers and their need for function, simplicity, and yet modern features.
Georgee, Tom. 5 Tips to Creating a More Usable E-Commerce Site. Honkiat. 2014. http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/ecommerce-website-tips/